It's the most wonderful time of the year. A time people across the country have been eagerly waiting for. A time when adults can't sleep because of their excitement and anticipation. A time that ranks right up there with a birthday and Christmas. A time when we get to give thousands upon thousands of dollars to our government. Yep, it's Tax Day!
Alright, so maybe this isn't exactly the most exciting day. Perhaps this day doesn't even make the top 360 in our list of "favorite days." Sarcasm aside, the vast majority of the population dreads taxes for good reasons. This day puts our family and finances under the government's microscope. This day is a major headache for much of the nation. This day puts countless dollars into the hands of our government, which doesn't exactly have the greatest track record with budgets or moral spending. Yes, tax returns can be nice, but those only happen when enough of our money is already given over for taxes (or we have deductibles).
Back in Jesus' day, people felt even more hostile to taxes. Of course, the methods used by the rulers and tax collectors were horrendously unfair. This is when a group came to Jesus to get His take on taxes in order to trap Him. Here is how the discussion unfolded:
"Then they sent some of the Pharisees and Herodians to Him in order to trap Him in a statement. They came and said to Him, 'Teacher, we know that You are truthful and defer to no one; for You are not partial to any, but teach the way of God in truth. Is it lawful to pay a poll-tax to Caesar, or not? Shall we pay or shall we not pay?' But He, knowing their hypocrisy, said to them, 'Why are you testing Me? Bring Me a denarius to look at.' They brought one. And He said to them, 'Whose likeness and inscription is this?' And they said to Him, 'Caesar's.' And Jesus said to them, 'Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's.' And they were amazed at Him" (Mark 12:13-17).
I suppose if Jesus were standing here today, He would also be telling us, "render to the government the things that are the government's." Seeing as how "the United States of America" is printed on our currency, I suppose it belongs to the government of our nation. All of that aside, there is a much more significant question we should be asking here. If we should hand over the things that "belong" to our government, then what should be giving to God because it belongs to Him?
Above all else, what comes to mind is ourselves. 1 Corinthians 6:20 and 7:23 both communicate, "you were bought with a price." We no longer own ourselves, which is why 6:20 goes on to say that we should therefore "glorify God with our bodies." Instead of living like I own me, I should be living like God owns me, because ultimately He does (Galatians 2:20).
On this day, the country will be rendering to the government the things that belong to the government. But through this life, let's render to God the things that are God's, namely, you and me. We aren't doing this because we are forced to. We are doing this because we should want to. After all, God has treated us like His children (Galatians 3:26-27), He gave up His only Son for us (John 3:16), and He loves us (Romans 5:8). Let's render ourselves to Him (Luke 9:23).